why i came to california (the first time)
Way back in the olden days (1993), I was living in Durham NC and working in a coffee shop. Really, it was a "gelato caffe." That meant we had ice cream and cake and pie in addition to coffee. One day I sold a cheesecake to Grant Hill
. But that was my life, after washing out of grad school a few states over (Kentucky) a few months before. I worked in the coffee shop for a year or so, then I figured making $5/hr wasn't all that wonderful of a plan for the future and I decided to get a job somehow affiliated with Duke, since they paid well, offered benefits, etc.
My real love was music. Not the playing or the singing, because lord knows I can't do either. I liked the business aspect of it...the evangelizing of good stuff. Most of it was from Georgia. I could make the drive from my house to Decatur in a little under five hours, but I always stopped at some truck stop in South Carolina that had slot machines. It was somewhere around mile marker 33.
I got a job at Duke, in the cardiology research center. I answered phones and did data entry. Specifically, I worked on the randomization hotline* for clinical trials—patients would go into an emergency room somewhere in the United States, having a heart attack or some such, and doctors would call up and enroll them in clinical trials. Or, one of their patients would have issues and they'd call in and I'd have to page the doctor on call and then transcribe their conversations. When no calls were coming in, I did data entry for the trials. I worked the graveyard shift and weekends, whenever possible, because there weren't a lot of calls and I was a fast typist so I'd finish my work and then...
...I'd play on the listservs. Remember those? Good times. I made a friend on the Internet, back when it wasn't all crazy and spammy and pr0n-filled. Did I mention the randomization hotline was an 800 number? Yeah. Well, my new friend and I took full advantage of that. My friend was in California.
One day, she said "you might want to look into this 'web' thing." I did. Ooooh, NCSA Mosaic was cool, wasn't it? Coming from the world of lynx and gopher, darn tootin' it was cool. My friend liked the same music I did, felt the same about the evangelizing and what not. We figured there might be a way to use this "web" thing to promote music. Go figure.
I went home one day and told the chick I was living with, "I'm moving to California." She was upset. I was not. So, I packed up my car and drove to California. She put my cats on an airplane two weeks later (never, ever again would I put my animals on a plane...for subsequent cross-country moves they always came in the car) and thus began my first stay in California. We named the company after the title of this poem
because a) we both learned of the poet through a musician we both liked and b) we both said "hey, this makes me think of you."* "randomization" sounds a lot like "rent-a-musician" when you say it quickly, so says my buddy